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An important change to our planning application service this Friday… And why transferring applications as data, not documents, is important to everyone.

by on May 18, 2020

We’re making some important changes to our planning application service on Friday night, as part of an ongoing programme of investment and improvement.  This means that the service will be unavailable from 17:30 to midnight on 22 May while we release the change. From Saturday morning (23 May) you will see some changes to forms, but there are also some important changes going on behind the scenes. When planning applications are submitted from our online service, the raw data entered into the forms is already transferred to Local Planning Authorities (LPAs), along with PDF copies of the forms. The structure of the data is published as a ‘data schema’ (or common data standard) which allows the local authorities’ IT providers to identify the correct data and place it into the correct place in their systems. On Friday we’re releasing a new version of this data standard.  We’re also working with LPAs and their IT providers to make sure that as much of this raw data as possible can flow into their systems, and ultimately into public access planning registers and elsewhere to make the planning process easier for everyone. This is part of our longer-term ambitions, shared last month, and we’ll continue to share more on how we’re working towards it in the coming weeks and months. In the short-term however, the release on Friday night will mean the following: Agents/applicants will see:

  • Residential Units – Updated question to meet current government specifications on dwelling categories and types (including Self Build). This also removes the manual workaround that had to be implemented previously.
  • Title/Salutation fields – These now allow any title(s) to be entered as required, following best practice.
  • Multiple ‘Other’ items can now be added – Where previously, ‘Other’ items in tables were limited to a single entry, it is now possible to add as many as required (e.g. where specifying all the materials to be used)
  • Primary contact details – All applications must now contain an Applicant or Agent phone number and email address. This ensures that Local Authorities have sufficient contact details when issues need to be resolved.
  • Review of optional/mandatory fields – All questions have had their optional/mandatory settings reviewed to ensure that, where relevant, information is provided. This will help ensure that applications are complete and valid at the point of submission.

In addition to the updated data above, the release will also enable LPAs to automate the download of the new Prior Approvals forms, which were made available to agents and applicants late last year.  Further detailed information for LPAs has been shared via our Knowledge Hub group, including action required by IT suppliers to make sure that LPAs can benefit from these improvements.

  1. Would be helpful to indicate where can one obtain the new data schema?

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Hi Nick, we’re working on this and will update shortly.

  2. Roger Lee permalink

    Perhaps when reviewing the service you can clarify what is needed in terms of an applicant’s address. It currently says “optional” but in fact is not optional as it remains incomplete without completing the full address details. Also including the surname of an applicant as mandatory isn’t helpful as many applications are submitted by companies not individuals.

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Thanks Roger. I’ve fed that back to the team to review/add in to plans.

  3. Steve Garner permalink

    Some applications with drawings made from CAD systems are too basic with no detail of the proposed build ( ie, window style, roof shape, facing materials and dimensions etc) Drawings should show all elevations in more detail

  4. Sarah Johnson permalink

    Will the new update include where a dwelling/premises intends to get their water supply from, i.e. Private Water Supply, mains water, rain water harvesting? Wholesome potable water!

    • Hi Sarah, Thanks for your query. These details are not included in the recent updates as they are not currently specified in the form templates published by Government (which we use as the basis of the specification of our online system).

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